Column by Wally Haas, editorial page editor, Rockford Register Star.
They started in North Carolina and have been making their way west. I’ve seen subtle signs that they’re approaching Rockford. We all need to be aware — the zombies are coming.
The threat of zombies taking over the country was first brought up last year in an e-mail that was received at the Charlotte Observer.
The subject line: “This is a very serious situation.”
“Every day I see countless articles about politics, the war, and why flip-flops aren’t good for your feet, but I also see Charlotteans neglecting the important news.
“The threat of a zombie attack.
“The dead are everywhere: in our cemeteries, in our morgues, in our own backyards ... The potential for an undead uprising is huge. There is no question we’d be overcome — we would be no match for their brute strength and blind determination to feast on human flesh. Zombies don’t have a sense of mercy. I can only appeal to parents to sit down with their children and discuss emergency evacuation plans, which household items make the best weapons, and how to recognize when a loved one no longer has a soul. Please, Charlotte, concentrate on the real danger.”
Ed Williams, editorial page editor of the Observer, quickly alerted his peers to the threat. Editorial page editors, editorial writers and columnists across the country, being the serious types that we are, responded accordingly.
“Oh come on. We can’t print this,” one editor replied. “It contains a glaring factual error. Zombies feast on human BRAINS not flesh. That in mind, I leave the threat assessment as an exercise.”
Some editors tried to be reassuring.
“Don’t worry. It’s that time of the year. We have loads of them in Ventura County, California. Only they’re called politicians.”
Others were not as dismissive.
“We clearly have been disrespecting the undead segment of our respective readerships in a less-than-politically-correct manner; hence, we owe them our apologies. One would not want to try to explain a zombie suit to one’s newspaper’s libel insurer.”
Others were more practical.
“We got that (e-mail) in Detroit, localized. We deleted it.
“And then the zombies came … we really flogged ourselves when several were elected to the Michigan Legislature.”
Looking at the official portraits of some of the men and women in the General Assembly, I’m not sure we in Illinois didn’t elect a few zombies ourselves.
“It wasn’t so much that they were zombies. We’ve had worse. But they didn’t complete our questionnaires so we couldn’t endorse them.”
“I think some of the Living Dead reside in Alabama. Sometimes even I wake up in the mornin’ with the zombie woof behind my eyes.”
“Clearly, this was written by someone from Pittsburgh, which is home of the ‘Night of the Living Dead,’ ‘Dawn of the Living Dead,’ ‘Day of the Dead’ and all other ‘Living Dead’ things. The living dead reside in Pittsburgh, not Charlotte.”
Pittsburgh must be a deadly place to live.
“We’ve never had to recant our support for zombies because we always couch the editorials very carefully: ‘On the question of the undead, on the other hand — oh, wait, the other hand just dropped off ...’”
“Wait uh minute, now. Are y’all suggesting that zombies don’t exist? And mocking it? I suppose next there’ll be no such thing as a gris-gris? And haints?
“I may be from South Louisiana, but I ain’t stupid. I know how to keep the zombies off-in me. (Boil a black snake, dip out some of the juice, bury it in the backyard at midnight with your underwear and two dead chickens, and you’ll be safe from zombies. Guar-ron-teed.)
“P.S. Besides, it isn’t the zombies you have to worry about. It’s the Ferengi who came back to Earth after Quark landed at Roswell in 1947. (Source: ‘Little Green Men,’ ‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.’)”
“You mean the Rules of Acquisition AREN’T the guiding principles of American political life already?”
“One of our people asks if this phenomenon has anything to do with global warming. ...”
“After years of watching him campaign, I’ve always thought Al Gore might be one of ’em.
It’s an inconvenient truth that editorial writers know more about dealing with the undead than we'd care to admit.
Wally Haas is editorial page editor of the Rockford (Ill.) Register Star. His e-mail address is email@example.com
Editorial Page Editor
Rockford Register Star